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tv   [untitled]    February 10, 2011 9:00am-9:30am PST

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my name sl ribbi adi cochran. we have a problem here, and the problem is we have many mentally ill patients that have been shot or injured. and it behooves the police department to consult with the comperlt which in this case was the medical profession, the psychiatrist, the psychologist. we always learn something new every day. even the police department can start something new by talking to the experts. many police departments in the country have done so. even in israel they have done so. so it would be wise also to to
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ask people to con sult. >> thank you. >> good evening, commissioners. >> i still don't fully understand how c.i.t. works. what i am happy to see in there rezz is i will have an opportunity to understand and learn how c.i.t. works. what's good in this resolution is that the community remains involved with the development of the crisis intervention model. there efforts have been extremely necessary. if we're going to use a society using policing, this is a good first step.
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all of you, but especially commissioners -- i hope that this kind of more honest community-minded process, hopefully with a longer timeline that provides the time we need for consensus building will set the tone for the kind of decisions we see from this commission and at the department in the future. it is a refreshing change. thank you. >> thank you. >> hi. i'm just a mom of a daughter who is metropolitanly ill who resides in san francisco. i have been living here for the last six months with my daughter after her having a psychotic break and have been priffy to using many of the -- privvy using many of the services that san francisco has for mentally ill. all and all they are great. you have services more than many
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other places, including the time i live in. the reason i'm speaking of tonight, is that anything that could help police officers to coordinate better with all the other agencies would be a good thing. right now with all your agencies, very few of them talk to each other on a regular basis, and that's a problem. i think the police officers are great. i think that this would help them. i look at homeless and the mentally ill a lot differently before my daughter became mentally ill. and even though she doesn't look like a lot of the homeless mentally ill people on the street, the chronically, you know, just really horrible people that you know, people see, that are dirty and, upping, defecate on the streets and
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things like that, but those people are people, and they were normal at one time just like all of us, and they deserve that respect. >> thank you very much. >> good evening. we appreciate you holding this hearing on a topic. i'm concerned by the recent shootings involving individuals with mental health issues. research has shown victims of mental health are more often victims of violence against them. also, when involving law enforcement it is the compassion and tactful show of force that may assist the de-escalation vs. acts of force which escalates a
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situation. when consumers of mental health services resort to aggressive acts are doing so as a defensive nature against what is per seeved as threatening, fearful, and due to symptoms. and the way to respond to the situation would need to be different in arriving at a garden variety scene of the crime. the situations have to be flexible. i whole heartedly support intense training of officers in dealing with mental health and those suffering from mental illness, but just doing mass training and expecting the officers to suddenly have equal skills to deal with situations is not the only solution. what is needed is something needed for c.i.t. to develop crisis intervention team. it has been cut and cut over and over.
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so they can work hand in hand. also identify officers with greatest interests, most amenabl e attitudes and have them be deployed and be first responders. also i wanted to mention the issue of cultural confidency. when we talk about people with different cultural back grounds, that has to be part of the training as well. [applause] >> i'm elle suchurt. i have two sons who both had psychotic breaks when they were in their teens. i was one of the lucky people
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who had dr. levin come. i realized a lot of people later did not have a good outcome, and i was haunted by the fact that my son could have been shot because i called the police. he had chased me with a knife. but we got the knife away from them. i have read that other parents have taken the knife away, but the fact that they had one would have made them seem really dangerous to the police. these are my boys now. they are doing great. a lot of people see people when they are at their worst, but it can be very temporary. these things happen for various reasons. so don't look at that person as hopeless, please.
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that's one of the things we have to get across, too, because the cynicism is a kind of hopelessness. i want to say, too, how we do things differently. for parents, one of the first things you learn is, don't say the trouble with you is -- that seems like a simple thing. but that's a habit. who doesn't say the trouble with you is. we just have to unlearn some things, some bad habits and cultivate good ones, and you'll find it helps you in every walk of life. memphis training will only be an enhancement for san francisco. please, please do it, and nami will help you all we can. and i'm also from the army and i'm concerned about our vets coming back. we have to treat them better. [applause]
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president mazzucco: next speaker. >> hi, i waited all night. i've -- i look this good because i've been to judge zimmerman, golden gate. we need to talk about intervention. a at the present time friend at mental health was able to help me go get good health. recently i had 108 temperature on cesar chavez' birthday on march. i went to cedars and they said do you want to hurt yourself or killing yourself? i said no. i said, yes, -- they asked if i wanted to hurt anyone else? and i said yes, like my neighbor across the hall abused me.
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i think they should be possible. call reports on people who have abused you. sometimes they apologize and you-all get alone long. and you know people have real problems and are doing different things. they don't take it seriously. they allow it to build up on you. i am here to say for the people out there, we need intervention. we learn to live isolated. one lady she hit me in the eye because i didn't give her a joint. i learned at that time, make sure women have cannibus. two months later she pushed her
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tv out the window. san francisco is known as the number one place where people commit suicide. we want to be part of the intervention with the officers and everything. thank you. president mazzucco any further public comment? hearing now, it is time for the commissioners. i want to start off by saying this is probably the best presentation this commission has had. we have members of the public defender's office explaining the impact on them. we have heard from members of the mental health profession telling us what we can do better. laweding our officers for the strong work they have done. we have heard from the police officers association, vice president kevin martin, who is an experienced beat officer on the 6th street beat most of the time, if i'm not mistaken. we have full support of everyone in this room, if not everybody. >> and great public comment,
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too! president mazzucco: and great public comment. so i want to thank commissioner chan and commissioner hammer for their work. this is an incredible model and this seems like the right thing to do. i only have one question after making that statement. to help dr. marshall out a little bit. what exactly do you do to de-escalate. let's give an example. someone in this room is holding a knife and they are suffering from a mental health issue, what would you say to them, major? >> when an officer is faced with a challenging situation, we want to make sure we are representing body language and verbage that would suggest or indicate that we're there to help the individual. understanding an individual that may be holding a knife may not
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necessarily mean that that person is wanting to hurt the officer. because of the severity of the illness, it may be perceiving that the officer is trying to hurt that individual. so understanding that the officer is afforded the opportunity to slow things down, to use slow speech, to even introduce themselves, and to often -- and to offer, asking their names. a culture we call, when we meet someone, you want to say, hi, my name is joe or sam. my name is officer cochran. could you give me your name. it could be as simple as saying, it looks like you are having a really tough time right now. it looks like you may be afraid. i can see that you are upset.
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so these expressions of emotions is very critical. so you are actually making it one-on-wup. many times in the law enforcement culture we have to grea correct a lot of our officers when they are talking to citizens. because officers work together as a partner they say we would like for you to do this, or we would like to talk to you, and we say, no, no, no, let's loo -- leave the "we" word alone. let's say "i." i want to talk to you. i would like to hear what your story is about. i want to know what is really troubling you today. many times when you ask our c.i.t. officers, there are mr. deescalation -- there are many deescalation skills. we -- it implies not only die
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dack tick training -- didactic training. i'm trying to give you a full flavor of what the intensity level is. one of the things officers often rerp refer back to their verbal skills is, an element of listening. many times people have mental illness, they don't feel like people are listening to them. many times people have mental illness and nobody sees them. oh, yeah we see them with our eyes. but we don't see them as a person. we don't have that opportunity we don't have that opportunity to express, i can see you are really having a bad day. we are trying to slow things down. so the individual that's standing before you with any type of instrument, whether it is a knife or an instrument ever a stick or a delub or something
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like that, many times it is strongly suggesting this individual is a -- is very afraid. fear is in the midst of crisis. that's why it is a crisis. it is not only the fear of the individual, it is the fear of the officers, too, and we have to have that understanding. i'm om briefly summarizing. >> that's a good example. i want to thank the mothers in the audience that spoke.
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commissioner kingsley: major cochran and dr. dupont, thank you for all your time. over time, have you had an opportunity to look at our 40-hour training that i believe a number of our officers have gone through in the san francisco police department in connection with mental health and mental illness? i guess that's the preliminary question. >> i have seen some of it. if there are symptoms of mental illness, i know it will be
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within the training. eight hours of interacting with people with mental illness is very, very possible. one of the things we encourage, and i know your training does, too, we want the officers to talk. it is what we call the human side. how much we're alike. most of the time in that discussion is i want a job. i want a home. this is something we all have in common. i know that's been introduced into your 40-hours or so of training. i'm not sure, but the levels of verbal deescalation skills, when
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we started we started with four hours of verbal de-escalation and then realized it had to be more than that. it requires a certain skill level. oftentimes we have law enforcement and co-training. so we have not only mental health issues. so the co-training and techniques. so it is 40 hours.
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it is very intense. i know your 40-hour question is also very intense. commissioner kingsley: ok. i understand. there are a number of officers that have gone through that. what could we do to perhaps supplement what they have through the trainer model forward consistently and more quickly. >> that's an excellent question. >> so maybe that's a follow-up. >> we're looking at not just a training. we're saying how does this work together? our focus would be on how do you take that.
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that would be the short answer to your question. there are two follow-up quest the interaction of your questions. the interaction of your police and sheriff and whether or not in san francisco have we addressed or coordinated or is there a need to coordinate with the sheriff's department? that is a question out there. >> there are a nu number of issues controlled. our department does not focus on corrections only. our department does not focus on
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corrections only. >> all right. commissioner kingsley: and is there any overlap? >> i -- commissioner kingsley: the other, and my final question at this time, has to do with psychiatric component of this and diverting people to the appropriate mental health help and making it work so that it works for everybody, and i'm hearing a bit tonight around police officers having done that but the midnightal health
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facilities, they don't feel like they are adequately getting help. and then the other side of things that i was reading and the documentation that you provided to us is that if it requires eight or 10 hours for a police officer to sit in an emergency room or sit with somebody they are bringing into a facility, they are going to find it more expedestrian dishes -- expedicious to put them in jail. you heard about the capacity of the public health facility.
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what kind of support do you need in terms of hours on coverage, and to make that part of this? it sounds very critical to this working. >> if you are in a situation where you are suffering budget cuts it always feels very, very discouraging. as an outsider, i look at your services. there is a concern for the safety nets. i do think one of the things i recommend, there is a study committee that they will have to look at those committees, where does that provide a roadblock to you. if you have a roadblock in the system, you have to look at that.
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i hadn't heard yesterday from the individuals i talked to. they felt they had good turn-around times for the officers and indeed were doing a good job. those things were very impressive to me. >> thank you both, very much. >> i want to thank the commissioners for discussing this important issue. i think one of the things that helps me understand, whether you go to the academy you have four to five months of training. this mental health tring training is just another class among many classes. you get out and do your other training, and then you get assigned to a station. what i understand you are saying, and maybe you can elaborate on this, if this is a
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three to five-year officer who has demonstrated judgment who wants to be part of the program, applies to the program, and selected to the program and then is given educational training and practical training, what you are talking about is de-escalation, and it is an ongoing training. these people become specialists. they get a chance to learn and grow. and they have resources available to them. [applause] >> the short answer is yes.
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but you did really summarize the flavor of c.i.t. within the specialization. we are proud of all of our law enforcement officers. there is no question about it. i think it has been repeated by many of our citizens here tonight and by others this is a special population requiring special needs and special services with dignity. i think the c.i.t. program is a platform. it is a platform for officers to recognize those special needs it is about officers committed to personal involvement. this is how we respond to crisis calls related to people. because a department joins in a
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community partnership that recognizes that within law enforcement uniform patroled services, for the most part we're on automatic with how we respond to burglary calls and robbery calls and how we investigate an accident. but when we implement a c.i.t. program as a community program, that training officer that is oftentimes referred to as a rookie, this riding with possibly a c.i.t. officer, and they may say, why are you doing it this way? why are you going out of your area to be in charge of a particular call event related to mental illness, and the answer will be, this is a special call that requires special services. and that's my riddle. my riddle is to serve those that have special needs.
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i'm a c.i.t. officer because family members are defending on me, i'm a c.i.t. officer because the consumers are depending on me, i'm a c.i.t. officer because my fellow partners are depending on me. that brings about ownership from an individual. when you have a platform where that officer can demonstrate ownership, that officer will perform. just like when you look at other specializations within the police department, those officers are very, very good. it is not just by happenstance. it is about the personal commitment, it is about the training that they receive, it is about the identity as to who they are.